Friday, April 7, 2017

Wild Workday

I have mentioned here before how sweet it is that my place of employment is situated just up the hill from a stream with perfect wild trout habitat. A three-weight fly rod and Muck Boots are kept in my truck at all times. Though it sees decent angling pressure, I've been lucky to sneak the occasional weekday mission in before or after work when it's usually less crowded. Last week I was able to go on two such jaunts in the same day; once in the morning and again in late afternoon.

In the first round, I went to a familiar pool with easy access that has been consistent in terms of numbers of fish, but not necessarily size. A big trout for me from here is around 10 inches, which is a respectable wild trout from this stream, but they can get much larger. I frequent this spot more than others because it's a quick hit and I can always count on seeing fish. While this type of thinking has kept me from visiting other parts of the stream more than I probably should, that is beginning to change.

As is always the case in this run, I was trailing a nymph on super light tippet underneath a dry fly. In short order I hooked six pint-sized gems which of only half reached my net. The biggest of the bunch, a gorgeous brook trout, ate a Stimulator I had just purchased during a surfcasting event at River's End. After spending about $100 on saltwater gear, I couldn't resist picking three of the big dries from a lonely freshwater bin. The rest of the trout that morning fell for a small, tungsten-bead pheasant tail I tied last winter. The Stimulator/pheasant tail combo is deadly for me in this spot. It has't really mattered what time of year or what bugs are hatching or in the drift, the trout here respond well to these two patterns presented in this way. I'm sure other flies and tactics work, but if it ain't broke don't fix it. After a brief dose of fresh air and trout, the Muck Boots were traded for dress shoes and off to work I went...

After work I returned with a plan to fish a stretch I had never seen before. I went the farthest downstream I had ever been and kept walking. Hugging the edge of the stream, I entered a wooded area bordering some backyards. There was no worn dirt path here like more popular stretches and I got the feeling this water has been neglected by most anglers. Without much room to spare on my boots, I crossed a riffle just upstream of a shaded, deep pool. Now I found myself across the stream from the residential area and in better position to present the dry-dropper rig I still had on from the morning trip.

There wasn't much space for a backcast, so I perched on a rock a few feet from the overgrown bank to buy me a little breathing room. Now I had brambles behind me and directly across the stream was a large backyard with no fence (which would come into play soon). I begin casting and on the third drift through the money zone, my Stimulator disappears. I set the hook and knew in an instant it was a nice fish. After some heartbreak on this stream in the past, my mind immediately went to negative thoughts of losing another big one. Despite the tight quarters, I was able to keep a good angle and pressure on her. When it finally broke the surface a few yards from me, I stumbled from my rock to close the gap getting water over my boots in the process. The lively brown trout slid into my net and I was a happy man.

The fish had vivid red spots over a buttery underbelly and a notable battle scar on its tail from the past. Just a beautiful specimen and my largest wild trout from this particular stream in a few years. Without a tape, I guessed the fish to be about 15-inches long. The term 'trophy fish' is very relative to where it was caught. This was a trophy to me. 

After the release, she sulked in the water beside me for a photo before bolting to the confines of the deep pool. I collected myself and got back on the rock to make more drifts in hopes there were more where that came from. But before I could get another cast off, two huge German Shepherds came into view in the yard across the stream. Everything was cool for a minute. When I started to false cast, they spotted me and ran over barking like mad with just 10-feet of water between us. Needless to say I left, but knowing there were more, and possibly bigger, trout in that pool, I came back the following afternoon. This time the dogs were in view from the start and when they saw me this time, I found out there was no electric fence keeping them in the yard. The bigger of the two jumped in the stream and I ran like hell.

I have a feeling those German Shepherds keep most anglers from fishing there. Looking back, I'm fortunate that I even had a five minute window of peace there or I wouldn't have caught that fish at all. The stream has more water to explore and more trout to catch, but I won't give up on that guarded pool just yet--I'll just have to get lucky with my timing. Before or after work of course. 


  1. That last brown is a beauty! I guess the dogs are keeping his home safe! I've been chased down by a dogs over the years so I am glad that you were able to make a safe retreat

    1. Thanks, Mark! Yes, I think those dogs have that pool on lock down.

  2. Truly a trophy brown with spectacular colors!! Congrats11

    1. It was a special fish for sure. A great fight, too.